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M-BASE PRACTICUM

INTRODUCTION:

The following materials were developed from ideas discussed at Steve Coleman workshops in New York City between 2010 and 2013. The bulk of these exercises will deal with the development of an intimate familiarity with the many characteristics of rhythm. The remainder will be dedicated to bettering one's facility in creating and navigating through various cadential formulae. It is the purpose of this document to initiate the growth of a somewhat well-organized methodology for learning how to create melodic shapes within sophisticated artificial temporal containers.

The term "audiation" has been used to describe the process by which sound is internalized by a listener. An audiated sound no longer has to be explicitly stated to be heard- instead it is imagined and automated so that it can serve as a reference or grid against which other sounds can be related. I would like to expand the usage of this term to refer to the act of encoding or mapping sounds so that they acquire a meaning. Audiated sounds have been incorporated into a semiotic system. They become cognitively significant structures which can then be arranged into more sophisticated forms- all in an imaginary space. The mind's eye, through dedicated training, can create vast geometric multidimensional landscapes of sounds interacting with other sounds.

The term M-BASE, or "macro-basic array of structural extemporizations" while it may appear to be unnecessarily enigmatic, is one that I actually find to be adequate in describing the motives behind creating this music. In my estimation there are undeniable affinities between Steve Coleman's thinking and the concepts delineated in the psycho-linguistic interpretations of consciousness proposed by many theorists of the 20th century. These "structuralist" currents attempted to outline the processes by which stimuli became encoded as symbols and placed within the semiotic chain to form concepts, ideas, thoughts, and ultimately the subject herself and all she encounters. Sonic stimuli undergoes this very treatment, and the "structural extemporizations" that concern us here are sonic forms that have been subjected to the same process of encoding as any other packets of information that we receive. Each discrete sound symbol must be mapped onto a matrix of signification so that it may be understood as a comprehensible phenomenon.